Friday, June 02, 2023


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce

Remembering Ronnie Cummins and the Organic Food Revolution

Ronnie Cummins

I had my first conversation with Ronnie Cummins in 2011 at a Health Liberty Coalition meeting in Florida sponsored by Dr. Joseph Mercola, where we talked about major public health issues and empowering people to take control of their health.1 The goal of the new coalition was to raise awareness about the need for dentists to stop using toxic mercury amalgams and for cities to stop adding toxic fluoride to drinking water, and to educate the public about how genetically modified organisms (GMO) are compromising the food supply and why undisclosed risks of mandated vaccines are endangering children’s health.

As co-founder and international director of the Organic Consumers Organization (OCA), Ronnie would promote organic food and regenerative farming as a healthier alternative to genetically engineered crops destroying food safety, and as co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, I would talk about vaccine safety issues and the need to secure informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws.

I knew when I met Ronnie that, although we grew up in the same baby boomer generation, our life experiences were completely different and so were our perspectives on the politics of current social and cultural issues. That did not matter because, after an hour of conversation, I knew I was in the company of a brilliant man with the heart of a lion who over the years had never lost the passion and determination to do the right thing no matter what the risk.

Ronnie Cummins was a born leader, from his college days as an anti-war and civil rights activist in the 1960s and 1970s, to his work in the 1990s at Jeremy Rifkin’s anti-genetic engineering think tank Foundation on Economic Trends, which shaped the national conversation about food safety and “frankenfoods” being created by companies using bioengineering to contaminate crops with genetically modified organisms (GMO).2 With vision, charisma and the legendary energy of a natural born leader, Ronnie co-founded Organic Consumers Association (OCA) in 1998 with his wife, Rose Welch, and he immediately set his sights on Monsanto.

Launching a public education campaign called Millions Against Monsanto that became identified with the anti-GMO movement,3 that campaign revealed the toxicity of the chemical glyphosate in Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide, which has poisoned genetically modified crops and polluted the air, soil, water and humans around the globe.4 Co-authoring the 2000 book Genetically Engineered Food: A Self Defense Guide for Consumers, Ronnie famously stated that he was committed to “driving genetically engineered crops off the market all over the world.”5

As head of OCA and partnering with holistic health physician Dr. Joe Mercola,6 Ronnie was a leader in the grassroots effort in 2012 to require labeling of GMO food in California through Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.  After a massive multi-million dollar advertising campaign led by Monsanto and DuPont and food industry giants like Pepsi, Kraft, Safeway, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Con-Agra, Kelloggs, Smucker’s, Unilever and Dean Foods to defeat the labeling requirement,7 Prop 37 did not pass by a narrow margin. But with his characteristic resolve, Ronnie accurately summarized the outcome stating, “We’ve put GMO labeling on the national map, and we’ve put Big Ag and Big Food on notice: This movement is stronger than ever and it’s not going away.”8

A prolific writer and gifted speaker, Ronnie was at the forefront of leading the organic food revolution that, by the second decade of the 21st century, had reached every grocery store in the U.S. When you enter a food store and look for the aisle offering clean, unprocessed organic food that has not been genetically modified, remember that it likely would not be there had it not been for the tireless work that Ronnie Cummins did in his life to advocate for organic farmers and the right for all people to eat organic.

By 2017, Ronnie was taking the Organic Food Revolution into a new phase that he called the Regeneration Revolution, which focuses on regenerative agriculture and land use embracing the traditional and indigenous best practices of organic farming, animal husbandry and environmental conservation that improves soil health, increases biodiversity and enhances forest health, animal welfare, food nutrition and small farmer prosperity.9

In the last decade of his life, Ronnie also made the decision to include in his advocacy the raising of awareness about vaccine safety and mandatory vaccination issues. I knew he was taking a risk to do that among the millions of people who supported his work on food safety because challenging official narratives about vaccine safety and opposing mandatory vaccination is, arguably, one of the most politically incorrect actions an individual can take today. In the last conversation we had, Ronnie talked about serious COVID vaccine reactions that people he knew had experienced, along with the fact that he had lost friends, colleagues and supporters for his criticism of vaccines and mandatory vaccination.10 He made it clear that he had no regrets because it had been the right thing to do.

Ronnie Cummins was not afraid to challenge the rich and powerful and hold them accountable for exploiting those less fortunate. To the end, he was a warrior on behalf of people who often have no voice and no choice when it comes to unsafe food they are forced to eat and unsafe vaccines they are forced to use.  His courage matched his vision and his fierce dedication to making the world a better place is an example for us all.

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12 Responses

  1. I thank you for the great article. Im saddened and shocked by his recent passing. May his great legacy live on eternally. What a dedicated gentleman. He will be missed by those who knew him as well as his fans. My heavy heart goes out to his family.

    1. oh..I had not heard. what an impact he made. I recall remembering so many “Firsts” of truth bombs coming from Organic Bytes and Organic News. thank you, Ronnie.

  2. Ronnie Cummins was obviously a hard worker in causes that mattered to him.

    This article begs the question of how Ronnie died. I’m curious!

  3. Thank you for sharing your relationship and input about Ronnie Cummins.
    We have lost a trully magnificient individual.
    thank you

  4. He will truly be missed. My most passionate issue as a young activist was genetically modified food. He was a giant. RIP.

  5. Thank you for your tribute to this great man. As you pointed out, his courage to do what is right in his heart, and not what is politically popular, was one of the hallmarks of his legacy.
    I know that the leaders such as yourself Barbara Loe Fisher, Vandana Shiva, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., will continue to fight along-side all of us for a better way forward.

  6. oh..I had not heard. what an impact he made. I recall remembering so many “Firsts” of truth bombs coming from Organic Bytes and Organic News. thank you, Ronnie.

  7. the first organic organization i joined was OCA!!!
    He was a light, and will continue that light in many great ways!!

  8. Ronnie -a good human who established a good org bringing attention to worldwide issues. I remember calling the OCA to talk about the benefits of Biochar & the scorge of SAI (Statospheric Aerosol Injection). We should continue the effort to inform the public & stop destroying what G-d has given us to steward respectfully. I’m saddened by our loss of this warrior.

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